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Monday, 16 April 2018

April 16, 2018

Do you practice yoga in daily life? What does it mean “Yoga off the mat”?




What is the first thing that comes to your mind when I say yoga? Is it some kind of asana? Do you picture yourself standing on yoga mat doing some posture? Undeniably this is part of yoga but have you considered the importance of asana comparing to others limbs of yoga (yamas, niyamas,)? It’s almost sure when you ask western citizens and Indian people what do they think first when we say yoga, there will be a different answer. Indian people understand yoga in much broader concept then we in West. For Indian people, yoga is mostly about the way you act, the way you live your life. They live they dharma – fulfilling their duties according to universal values. For western people, yoga is more physical practice whereas some people recognize the philosophy behind it.


I ask you one more thing: have you ever felt frustrated you couldn’t practise yoga? If yes, what did you mean by it? Did you feel frustrated because you didn’t do your regular exercise? But what about replacing it by doing some selfless action or by being more mindful during your day? This is also the practice of yoga. And actually, you can do it every day and every moment. You don’t have to necessarily do sun salutations every day. You don’t have to feel you didn’t do yoga just because you didn’t practise asana.

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Once you chose to live yoga and you incorporate it into your life, you start to discover the magic of yoga. It is about our approach to all situations in which you are. It is about actions we do and the way we do them. By bringing peace, mindfulness and joy into your activities, you can enjoy the feeling of practising yoga. By acting with awareness what is happening around you incorporating selflessness, you can feel like doing yoga.

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Take inspiration from people around you. Be curious, explore and bring childish easiness into your day. Allow everyone around you to be your teacher and humbly accept lessons that life is giving you. Before you judge or get angry, just hold on a second and think: does it worth it? What lesson I should take out the situation?


Embrace all living beings with compassion. If someone does a mistake, instead of condemnation bring understanding. Spread good energy and give people your smile. Trust me, these few easy things make your day beautiful and the others will also appreciate it and give it back to you. J

Namaste

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

April 03, 2018

How much are ancient techniques of yoga still relevant in today’s world?




This article is going to be more reflexion and contemplation about the effectiveness of ancient techniques in today’s world. Of course, the world is changing and developing but people’s universal desires don’t change much, I guess. People have always been looking for happiness, peace, and love. These three things seem to be permanent. 
Without the peaceful and loving environment, who can really be happy?And because the goal of yoga techniques is to help us remove suffering from our life and show us the truthful happiness, I see there is huge potential for us to learn. And in my opinion, these techniques are powerful and effective no matter what kind of century we live in and what culture surrounds us. It is not that important where do you live, but you will always feel this calling – Who am I?


Moreover, as I see the urge for yoga in the western country, I have the feeling that ancient techniques are highly demanded. People are interested in finding their safe and happy environment in the world. They search for understanding of their existence, the goal of their life? They try to deal with the pressure in daily busy life? Yoga seems today as inspiring tool how to face challenges in our life. Why are these techniques continuously efficient? Because they are simple and they come from higher wisdom. We just need to trust.

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The ancient yoga techniques help us to connect with our true nature. The goal for all people is always the same. It’s about reminding ourselves what we have forgotten. It is about re-finding our path home, towards our truthful self. There is nothing more, we don’t need to develop new super-complex and modern techniques. We just need to recollect our knowledge back. If the ancient techniques weren’t helpful, there wouldn’t be such a request for them. 
April 03, 2018

Beauty and Healing power of yin yoga...


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Happy and healthy life requires balance. If we want to keep harmonized body, we need to satisfy both sides of ourselves, active and passive components of our nature, yin and yang. Even yoga has yin and yang styles. Hatha, Ashtanga, vinyasa yoga – all are based on active principle. Yin or restorative yoga is focusing on the relaxation of our metabolic system. 

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Nowadays yin yoga has started to be discovered as really effective healing and relaxing tool in the western busy world. Do you know the moment when you come after an exhausting day and you can’t even think of moving yourself but still you need to find a way how to relax? Yin yoga is the perfect way how to calm down before going to sleep. It helps purify our energetic channels and it renews prana flow in our body which afterwards brings refreshment into our body and mind.

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Moreover practising yin yoga regularly for a long time can help us remove adhesions of our fascia to muscles. This has an amazing effect on our yoga practice and daily life. Fused parts of fascia and muscles cause inflexibility of our body, a lot of tension and incorrectly and limitedly spread prana throughout the body. If we look at our body in long-term, lack of pranic energy causes serious health issues which we can easily prevent. 

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Finally, by practicing yin yoga we can change our body posture. While performing the correct positions we harmonize our strained parts of the body and we give them needed the release. When we do repetitively one-sided movement, we chose for yin yoga such postures the is the opposite to that so we compensate.This helps also our mind because as our body is full of tension, our mind can’t be stable and smooth. Removing stress and anxiety from the body will directly affect our state of mind. Through effortlessness practice of yin yoga you can bring relief, how does sound to you? I hope good enough to give it a try. J

Namaste 

Friday, 30 March 2018

March 30, 2018

Part II- Do you have difficulty to meditate?


In the previous part of this article, we introduced the first limb of ashtanga yoga – Yamas. In this part, I would like to focus on niyama or personal code of yogi. There are some let’s say guidelines which yogi follows to achieve purity of his/her body and mind so that soul can move in our spine towards a higher state of consciousness.

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Firstly yogi focuses on shoucha– cleanliness of physical, mental and spiritual body. All three bodies are equally important. It’s crucial to take care of your internal body – pure food and external body. At the same time, yogi watches his/her mind. What kind of thoughts is coming to the mind? Are they positive or negative? Are they pure or full of sins? Is the mind overfilled with many thoughts? All these aspects we step by step refine while we try to meditate. There is no way how to make all our thoughts disappear in a moment when we try to meditate. Our mind is not a computer that can be easily switched off. We train our mind to let thoughts drift on by, we train not to put attention in them, but we don’t try to cease thoughts. That would require resistance. Instead of it we just try to transfer our attention to one object and stay focused as much as possible without any judgment to ourselves.

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Next aspect of niyama is santosha – contentment. The great yogis say that once you accept everyone and everything as it is, you are completely free and you can be boundlessly happy. Being at peace in all situation appreciating what you have now is clear way how to be content. This part is closely connected with tapas austerity or devotion which yogis perform. How do you approach yoga as a practice? How do you approach your life? Is it filled with devotion? J Yogis admit that there is higher power governing this world – Universe, God or call it as you wish. Acknowledging there is something above us which is more powerful is IshvaraPranidhana. Surrendering this power make you grateful every second imagining you are nothing without this power that creates our space.

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Last but not less important part is swadhyaya, self-study and self-realization. Our life is the never-ending process of learning and developing. Once we lose the desire to grow, we are stuck in one place. This reminds me a parallel my guru is saying, what happens to water that doesn’t move? It gets stinky and not really attractive to go in, right? What about the nicely flowing river which is clear and fresh? This is much more attractive, don’t you think so? The same principle we can apply in the self-study. A person who desires to blossom is more beneficial for its surrounding so that people want to be around such a person which creates around him/herself nice vibes.

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Hopefully, this was inspiring enough to reassess your personal habits and incorporate some of the mentioned practises into our daily routine. J

Namaste

Thursday, 29 March 2018

March 29, 2018

The benefits of Mudra: The introduction to basic Mudras


Mud means happy and ra means to give, therefore we can understand mudras as a form of joy or also as the really important tool that guides us deeper into our yoga practice. Each movement of our body has an impact on our mind. Even the tiny small movement of your fingers can do a great job. If we wish to increase the intensity of our asana, pranayama or meditation practice, mudras shouldn’t be missing in our daily routine. The specific movement of your body moves prana in a certain way which means by performing mudras we are able to control the flow of our prana towards desired intention. By performing specific mudras, our brain is also receiving signals for a particular activity. This is something we look for when we wish to develop our spirituality.

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There are dozens of variations of mudra, it’s a whole ocean of not really discovered area in the West. Mudra can be performed by our fingers, hands, head or it can also mean specific body posture. So don’t be mistaken that mudras are the only area of our hands. I will describe three basic ones mentioning their benefits.

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First, really important mudra is chin mudra when our thumb and index finger meet, palms facing up. It’s believed that our thumb symbolizes universal self and our index finger is a place of our EGO, 
our individuality. While these two points connect, it enables us to connect to the universe easily.


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Next important mudra is yoni mudra. In this mudra, our right and left palm connect which brings to our brain balance of our two hemispheres. In case you feel disharmonized without any specific reason, try to work on balancing hemispheres, it can bring necessary calmness into your life. Also, there is another benefit of this mudra, it helps to open chest area, where is our heart chakra.


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The third mudra which I consider as very beneficial is Gyan mudra. It improves our memory, concentration and brain function generally. It can help with sleep disorders and interestingly it also regulates the anger. Many times during our working week we get angry so how to get over it?

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Through control of your breath, deep inhale and exhale. Perform this mudra at least 10 minutes while breathing deeply. You can also add few inhales only with your left nostril. 

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

March 27, 2018

Do you have difficulty to meditate?



(First part)

There are many ways how to approach this matter? I will try to explain why you have difficulty to meditate from the point of view of Ashtanga yoga. Ashtanga yoga is a concept (let’s say also lifestyle) consisting of 8 limbs. Meditation is the seventh step. It’s almost the last step before the final goal Samadhi – enlightenment. Now we can ask: what are the previous stages? And are they necessary to be fulfilled before we are able to meditate? Well when we are endlessly trying to get into a meditative state without success, then probably there is something to be done before. What do you think? J

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Without accomplishing first six stages, there is a low chance, we can meditate properly. Thus let’s talk about few things on which you can try to work so that you prepare your mind for meditation. After you attain first 6 stages, meditative state of your mind will come naturally. The same way when you go to sleep, you need to do certain preparations so that you feel like going to sleep and then the process of falling asleep happens effortlessly.

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In following articles we will talk in more detail about each stage of Ashtanga yoga so that you understand how to apply these recommendations in your daily practice. Today we talk about first limb – social code which you should follow so that your mind is pure.
Ahimsatells us about the importance of non-violence behavior. Firstly you stop violence on your body then it will naturally emerge also on your reactions towards outside world. Because remember, the outer world is only a mirror of our inner world. Thus once you are aggressive to others, there is anger inside of you. Into non-violence Ashtanga yoga also includes our thoughts, our speech and of course physical part of violence. What does it mean in practical life? To become vegetarian and become also really aware of all food and liquid you put into your body. Chemicals, hormones, and the food are grown in a negative environment will prevent your mind and body to be pure.

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Satya reminds us to need to speak the truth and to live the truth. All lies or unexpressed truth contaminate our mind, making it heavy so that it’s impossible to elevate ourselves into a meditative state. Asteya supplements Satya because emphasizes honesty in all our actions.
Quite controversial can be considered bramhacharya or celibacy. Most importantly, it’s not only about sexual matters. Sexual activity undeniably keeps us in lower chakras so that elevate our mind is really difficult when we have a lot of sex. Why? Sexual activity can be considered a kind of addiction, we mostly want more and more and we are barely satisfied with the amount. What you can do as a compromise to celibacy is to at least reduce the number of partners. Having long-term relationship means stability. Also, you may search for other pleasures with your partner then sex, for example, doing yoga together and try to meditate together. JWe also needs to reduce our activity in speech and thinking. Sometimes there is no need to talk or think.

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The last part of the social code is aparigraha or non-possessiveness. When we are attached to something whatever it is, we constantly worry about it and it holds our attention, right? But in meditation, we would like to focus on one object, for instance, our breath. How we can keep our focus if our possessive thoughts are continuously disturbing us? The answer is quite easy: detach yourself from as many material things as you can. Set all people free, do not control anybody else. Don’t hold on any expectations or illusions. Then meditation will become much easier. It takes a long time till we achieve follow these instructions of ashtanga yoga. For some people, even these few instructions seem like almost impossible to follow. Have patience, make yourself grow and your meditation will slowly be a bit easier if you start to develop at least some of these limbs.


Namaste J

Friday, 23 March 2018

March 23, 2018

Yoga starts in your mind


Patanjali (the father of yoga) defines yoga as the ability to control the fluctuation of the mind. Therefore true inner peace comes through controlling our mind. Performing asanas helps us to bring stillness in our mind. The strength of our body corresponds to strong mind and determination attain our goals, flexibility of our body helps our mind to adapt to different situations and the ability to stay stable in asanas matches with the steadiness and courage defend our decisions. Do you see the connection? J

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 Well, then you see that yoga actually aims to subjugate the mind through the body. Nevertheless such an approach you can barely find in western yoga classes. In order to learn how to cease your thoughts, you might want to change the environment and to jump out of your ordinary life. Leaving the place where you live, all your daily responsibilities and duties coming to the cradle of yoga to give yourself time to govern your mind. How does it sound to you?

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Do you still think that asanas provide the actual health for you? Well, there are undeniable aspects and benefits of asanas, but actually, our mind is much more powerful and much more influential for a healthy state of our body. Think once. Why yoga provides so many techniques to control our mind? Our mind is able to tone our brain, our brain then gives signals to our cells and because the cell is the key unit in our body, it has the power to influence the healthy or unhealthy state of our organs. Our cells are tunes into positive and negative vibrations according to our thoughts. And who is responsible for our thoughts? Our mind. We are going back to the beginning of our article, govern your mind and you will govern your health.

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Wednesday, 21 March 2018

March 21, 2018

India will change your understanding of yoga

To experience yoga here in India is really different from the western way of teaching yoga.Naturally, there are positive and negative sides on both styles. And everyone will have distinct opinions about both styles. To make your own conclusion and to understand the difference, you need to experience both styles.

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In order to have a more complete sense of what is yoga, you definitely should come to India. In my point of view, there is nothing that can be compared to teacher training courses in India. You might think yoga is firstly exercise – asanas after that meditation, breathing exercise all supported by Hinduism philosophy. But to really understand Hinduism philosophy, you need to experience it on your own. To grasp the depth of Vedanta and moreover to comprehend how you can apply such an approach to life into your own lifestyle and your classes, you need to live it on your own skin. Through living for a while in India you can realize what does it mean to be a yogi.

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If you go through classes of asanas and philosophy from an original source, your yoga practice and yoga classes will be definitely filled with different energy. Of course, you need to find your own style and you will put your own ideas into your yoga. But your student will feel you differently if you experience yoga in India.

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I would like to tell you a couple words about how I personally experience two distinct ways of teaching so you can have a better idea. As you could already assume, western people and western yoga teachers put different energy flow than Indian teachers. When you come to India, don’t expect softness and emotions from local teachers. Indian asana instructors will challenge your limits. The majority of them will stay quite closed in an emotional way. However, their class is designed in such a way that creates a heat in your body so that you are able to really go beyond your limits and your body will get necessary strength to perform many incredible asanas. You also learn about the benefits of asanas, you learn the correct alignment and most importantly you connect doing asanas with a spiritual path.

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Western style of yoga is for me personally either only empty exercise or really beautiful relaxation for your mind and body usually full of nice emotions and energy flow. No rushing, no pushing and gentle practice that helps you be more aware of your body. I would say it’s really beneficial to try both versions to recognize what is your preferred way of teaching and doing yoga. 

Monday, 19 March 2018

March 19, 2018

Are you a woman and you wonder how it is to come to India alone?




In case you are wondering if it’s safe for woman to travel alone, don’t worry. I had this picture of India as dangerous country for woman because western media many times showed us only the bad experience of women. In western media you don’t really see the hospitality of Indian people. But they are actually really helpful. Don’t hesitate to ask them.

Of course there are some essential rules which you like woman should respect.
Indeed it’s not wise to walk alone on the dark street at night. Better ask someone to give you a lift or accompany you. Local people will be more than happy to get you safely to your destination.


You should also be careful about your dress code. It’s always highly recommended to see what is good to wear in a country you plan to visit. For public placesin India I would suggest all women not to wear tight clothes. Anyway causal clothes are more comfortable if it’s hot weather, don’t you think? JShorts and T-shirt with plunging neckline is not the best choice. For ashrams you should cover your shoulders and generally wear decent clothes.

If you follow such basic instructions, you will be all right. I would personally advise you to have positive mind-set and try to attract nice experience to your life. Try to picture your journey without any serious problem. This can really influence your experience while travelling.

Another personal experience… I am a blond green eye young women thus not really typical characteristic for India, right. J And what I find out interesting is the way how people literally stare at me. It didn’t surprise me they want to take a photo with me, but what I found out a bit unusual for me was the intense gaze of locals.
Firstly I thought what do they want to do to me? But after a couple weeks here I realized it’s just their curiosity about my physical character. I become more aware of the kindness and benignity of Indian people. I found out that if people look at me, it doesn’t necessarily mean they want to hurt me. 



There is no bad intention in the gaze. Generally people don’t want to hurt you here because it’s against their culture. As I already wrote you, they believe in karma, so they try to do good actions. That is their dharma, not to hurt people. As soon as you become aware of this, you will enjoy your stay in India for sure.


And one last advice I will give you today. In case people are too importunate, ignore them, walk away or say really clearly you don’t need anything from them. J That will solve most of your problems.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

January 03, 2018

International Yoga Festival 2018


Join us at the 2018 annual International Yoga Festival – bringing together yogons from all cultures, colors and beliefs into one global yogi family, developing global consciousness and bringing healing to the planet of a person at a time!

Come to the home of Rishikesh, cradle of yoga and yoga in the capital of the world, the home of the ancient yogis, sages and seers. Each year, the International Yoga Festival grows and develops, embracing more and more people around the world. In 2017, we had nearly 2,000 participants from 101 countries!
Connect with yogis and conscious, like-minded shape shifters from all parts of the world. It does not matter if you are already undergoing a transformation, or if you are already an active co-creator of your own divine life or want to become one - the festival is for everyone! Make friends with the community becomes a family for life.
In the 7-day immersion and celebration, you have the opportunity to embrace spiritual leaders, yoga teachers, progressive thought leaders and wellness experts from around the world. Wake up to the best version of yourself and turn on your inner light through this inevitable event. The program offers a wide range of options, from Kundalini sadhana to 4 am for intensely engaged and ending at 9.30 pm a traditional cultural song and dance, kirtan and enlightened animation on the banks of the Ganges. You can customize each day according to your personal needs. We also have a Sacred Sound scene so you can relax with the power of sound.
1st to 7th March 2018.
The celebration of yoga, the International Yoga Festival is a harmonious event organized on the banks of the Ganges River in a spiritual atmosphere created by the Holy River Ganges. The festival tries to promote the harmony of the body, mind and soul. He practices some of the ancient techniques and sessions of yoga and meditation. The most important functions include sessions on Pranayama, Hatha Yoga and Jog Nidra.
Along with all the branches of yoga, there are numerous meditative sessions of Agnihotra, Ajapa Japa, Antara Mauna, Chakra Sudhi, and Chidakasha Dharma. All sessions are conducted by experienced yoga practitioners in the ashram complex.
In addition to learning the ancient art of uniting the body, mind and soul, the festival is an excellent opportunity to learn about aspects of Indian culture. Sattvic food, friendly people, modest accommodations clean your system
The true religious spirit of Rishikesh is more than a weekend from bhajans and "Kirtans". Experience the bliss of Rishikesh in the air.

Based on the traditional origin of yoga, the International Yoga Festival includes the traditional yoga lines of India. The masters of yoga schools and styles share their knowledge to festival participants.The weekly festival includes over 70 hours of yoga classes under the guidance of the world-class yoga teachers practicing many styles of yoga, including Iyengar Yoga, Kriya Yoga, Kundalini Yoga and Power Vinyasa Yoga. Satsang, the divine words of venerated saints and spiritual masters, contribute to the holistic wellness of yoga. The schedule of the International Yoga Week is changing day by day.

Places to visit around Rishikesh

Rishikesh is one of the holiest places in Uttarakhand. The gateway is Garhwal Himalayas, the town is blissful. Along with attending the International Yoga Festival, visit Laxman Jhula, Neelhantha Mahadev Temple, the ashrams, temples and so many more places including Haridwar. You can also make Rishikesh Char Dhaman other pilgrimage sites high up in Himalayas. Also Rishikesh is the best destinations for adventure in India. Some of the activities you could indulge in include white water rafting, kayaking, bungee jumping, trekking, flying fox and camping among others.
Thank You
Chandra Yoga International, Rishikesh.